This off season has been one of excitement and anticipation, seeing the likes of Pavelski and Perry sign with the Stars and wondering what they can do, hearing the Stars being talked of highly by the NHL Network just makes me want October to come round even faster.
After a couple of decisive home victories, the Stars seem to have got back on track. And it’s good timing as they now head out on the road as their home heavy October has come to an end.
The Stars will now hit the road for the next 6 games, starting in Detroit and ending with back-to-back games in Boston then Columbus. The trip is going to be a big test for the Stars, it may start with a struggling Detroit, but the Stars conclude the month of October when then face the Montreal Canadians, who have things clicking well at home with a 4-1-0 record.
The Stars will then play 4 games in the first 6 days of November, first up the red-hot Toronto Maple Leafs, however, most of Toronto’s winning has been done on the road to start the season. Dallas then moves on to Ovechkin and the defending Stanley Cup champs in Washington. Followed up by the back-to-back games in Boston on the 5th and Columbus on the 6th. Both Boston & Columbus currently sit 3rd in their divisions and Boston are a perfect 4-0-0 at home.
So it will be a tough trip, the Stars face the only team in the league who are yet to lose in any way at home, defending Stanley Cup champs, a super tricky Toronto club and some back-to-backs… the Stars can ride of their last two wins and smash this road trip, and they will bring themselves right back into the mix.
So, how do they do it?
Head Coach, Jim Montgomery, will need to tidy up his road game. The Stars have only played two games on the road this year, but lost them both in regulation. Playing on the road is tricky as Montgomery will not be able to get the lines matched up as he would like, playing in the opponents building is never easy and they have a cloud of doubt over their head on the road thanks to the first two road games of the year.
However, all that negative stuff said, the Stars last two performances are exactly what the Stars need to take on the road. The top line can add to the goal scoring, but some depth scoring is key on the road, when the top line will always be faced with the oppositions top defensive line it is crucial to get some depth support. This being said, Radulov or no Radulov the top line, eg Benn & Segs need to get back in the goal scoring column.
The top line producing like it did in the first couple of games, depth scoring like the last couple and current dominant style of play the Stars have is something no team will want to play against. Bringing all three together for a full 60 minutes every night will be key. Montgomery and the Stars have the chance now with the pressure somewhat off them on the road to really get things going.
The current picture looks better for the Stars thanks to the last couple of wins, but in a forever tricky central division they still sit outside the playoff picture (too early I know) but the two teams in the wild card slots for the West are from the Central and are both on 2 and 4 game winning streaks. If the Stars were still in the Pacific they would be 1 point from 3rd and just one win from top of the Pacific… but we are not, so Let’s take the start we have had to the season and know to survive the regular season and make the playoffs in the central you need to win, and win lots! So Let’s do just that on this road trip!
Highlights… so far!
For me the best part of the season has been Jason Spezza, he has not been perfect, and one minute I am reading comments where people are still complaining or saying that the Spezza from a couple of years ago would have 4 or 5 goals already. However, the Spezza from last year didn’t even get himself into the position to receive these scoring chances, I think he had the positive talk with Montgomery in the off-season, felt he had a chance to make a difference again this year and that positivity got him in to these scoring chances, maybe it was a bit of a shock for him at first, but now he is playing like the Spezza we once knew, and I like it. The Stars may have a fast paced style, and the slower Mike Ribero style of play may not have much space in todays game, but when you can control the puck like Spezza and create time and space then feed others like he does, I am glad he is on a roll and I look forward to seeing his name on the score sheet every night.
Miro… It has been as promised I guess, he is a very exciting player to watch, he is ready for this league and will be another difference maker and we can’t go without saying congratulations on your first NHL goal, we knew it wouldn’t take long! Oh, and did you see who controlled the play and feed him with a perfect pass… yes, Spezza.